Millers ready to be coupon-busters

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Valen­tine

ROTHER­HAM man­ager Neil Warnock be­lieves his side can be a coupon-buster in weeks to come af­ter kick-start­ing their Cham­pi­onship sur­vival bid with a vi­tal win over Brent­ford.

The Millers gave Warnock a first vic­tory at the helm af­ter he an­swered an SOS call to take the reins a fort­night ago, as goals ei­ther side of the break from Matt Der­byshire and Danny Ward ended a seven-game win­less run.

They are now three points from safety and have a daunting run of fix­tures com­ing up, with Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Mid­dles­brough, Derby County and Ip­swich Town to play in their next four games.

How­ever, Warnock is con­fi­dent of pulling off a few up­sets and clam­ber­ing their way to safety.

“It’s nice to get the win,” he said. “I said to the lads ‘how does it feel? That’s what you have to go through’.

“I re­ally en­joyed it. They gave me ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing. That’s the Cham­pi­onship – you have to do that as a min­i­mum.

“We have got some tough games com­ing up but they will be tough for them.

“It helps to get three points, just to get us back in the mix. They couldn’t have given any more, we might be a bit lim­ited, but we’re not lack­ing in the heart stakes.

“I love the Cham­pi­onship be­cause it is the way it is. I am usu­ally go­ing for pro­mo­tion and you al­ways come un­stuck against teams at the bot­tom. I think we can be a coupon-buster in the next few weeks.”

Der­byshire scored in the 29th minute from Lee Freck­ling­ton’s cut­back while Ward slammed home a loose ball from a cor­ner with 19 min­utes left and it en­sured the Millers were not vic­tims of a gross in­jus­tice.

Hap­less ref­eree Mark Brown awarded Brent­ford a penalty in the 42nd minute when Freck­ling­ton had clearly won the ball in a chal­lenge on Sergi Canos.

Alan Judge saw his spot-kick saved by Lee Camp but made no mis­take at the se­cond at­tempt.

“It’s not a penalty,” Warnock said. “He has just got him­self in a mud­dle. I think he knew by the re­ac­tion.

“The lad got the ball, you could see where it has gone. I thought his of­fi­cials might have helped him – we could see where we were.

“I thought they might have seen it and given him the chance to change his mind.

“It was so ob­vi­ous, it’s a ma­jor de­ci­sion and it’s re­ally cruel.”

Brent­ford boss Dean Smith, who has seen his side lose four of their last five games as their sea­son pe­ters out, ad­mits that the penalty de­ci­sion gave Rother­ham a cause af­ter the break.

“What went wrong was we got in­volved in a tear-up and that is not our game,” re­flected the frus­trated Bees boss.

“Our game is about play­ing foot- ball, pass­ing and mov­ing it.We did it at times in the first half with­out re­ally cre­at­ing too many op­por­tu­ni­ties. In the se­cond half, we have given op­por­tu­nity for the of­fi­cial to give too many free-kicks.

“I thought we had a very harsh penalty given in our favour. I thought their lad has touched the ball, at the time I thought it was a penalty but I have seen it back.

“It got their tails up, then we got in­volved in a bit of a scrap and then it be­came a bit of a 50/50.We prob­a­bly de­served to lose in the end.

“Both goals were very poor goals, but then we had a great chance to equalise af­ter­wards.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

MATT FIN­ISH: Rother­ham United’s Matt Der­byshire scores the open­ing goal

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